In news- Recently, a new study has found that the HPV vaccine has reduced the risk of developing cervical cancer by 62 per cent in women between the ages of 14 and 16.
A note on the new study-
- The study was funded by Cancer Research UK.
- The study looked at all cervical cancers diagnosed in England in women aged between 20 and 64 years, between January 2006 and June 2019.
- The study shows that the HPV vaccination in combination with cervical cancer screening reduces the cancer to a point where almost no one develops it.
- It also shows that over a period of 11 years (since 2006), the vaccine prevented around 450 cervical cancers and around 17,200 cases of precancerous conditions.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine-
- There are various types of HPV vaccines, including the quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil), which protects against four types of HPV (HPV 16, 18, 6 and 11).
- All HPV vaccines protect against at least HPV types 16 and 18, which cause the greatest risk of cervical cancer.
- The latter two strains cause genital warts.
- The other kind of vaccine is the bivalent vaccine (Cervarix), which protects against HPV 16 and 18 only.
- The third type is a non valent vaccine (Gardasil 9), which protects against nine strains of HPV.
- These vaccines prevent cervical cancer in women and girls who have not yet been exposed to the virus.
- Ideally, the vaccine should be administered before the individual makes their first sexual contact.
- While for teenagers, the vaccine is administered in a two-dose regimen, for those between the ages 15-26, a three-dose regimen is used in the US.
HPV vaccination in India
- India is home to 27 percent of total cervical cancer cases globally.
- In India, bivalent and quadrivalent HPV vaccines were licensed in 2008 and a non valent vaccine was licensed in 2018.
- The Indian Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Immunization (IAPCOI) recommends that HPV vaccines be given as a two-dose regimen, six months apart for girls below the age of 14 years.
- For those who are 15 and older, the vaccine is given in a three-dose regimen.
- There is no recommendation for HPV vaccines for boys and males in India yet.
What is human papillomavirus (HPV)?
- HPV is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract and there are more than 100 types.
- It is mainly transmitted through sexual contact and most people are infected with HPV shortly after the onset of sexual activity.
- It is sexually transmitted, but penetrative sex is not required for transmission.
- Skin-to-skin genital contact is a well-recognized mode of transmission.
- More than 40 types of HPV are spread through direct sexual contact.
- Almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV and the vaccine protects against two of the cancer-causing strains, which are HPV 16 and 18.
- Once infected, most people do not develop any symptoms, thereby are not aware that they have the virus.
- In most cases, the body’s immune system will be able to clear the virus out, which means it won’t do any harm to the individual.
- The infection with certain HPV types also causes a proportion of cancers of the anus, vulva, vagina, penis and oropharynx.